Baked GoodsBreakfastRecipes

Hearty Zucchini Muffins

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Are you swimming in zucchini this time of year? What’s a poor gardener to do with so much zucchini?! The answer for me is to shred and freeze as much as possible so I can bake my favorite zucchini muffins all winter long. This recipe is a variation on my Hearty Banana Muffins.

Hearty Zucchini Muffins

2 Cups Zucchini

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 Cup applesauce

2 Eggs –OR- 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed whisked into 6 Tablespoons water

1/4 Cup Honey

1 teaspoon Vanilla

3 Cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

(optional) 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped nuts

 

Directions:

(If you are using frozen shredded zucchini, get it out of the freezer the night before you bake muffins, and let it thaw on the counter.)

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the muffin tins.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the bananas, applesauce, eggs (or flax mixture), honey, and vanilla. Mix until very smooth.

4. Add the wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until well-incorporated, but do not over mix. It will make your muffins flat if you mix the batter too much.

5. If desired, mix chocolate chips or nuts into the batter.

6. Fill the greased muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.

7. Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

shredded zucchini

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSalads

Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

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I am always surprised at how many people love this Salad—my husband, his brothers, their wives, my meat-eating-Wyoming family—they all devour it at family gatherings. I hope your next dinner guests will enjoy it too!

This recipe is an alteration of a recipe I found on the blog, Sweet Peas and Saffron.  I re-worked it to make it fit our family’s palate and preferences better.

Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

8 Cups Kale (one bunch), washed and chopped into 1 inch leaves
1 1/2 Cup (one 15 oz. can) garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 1/2 Cups barley (3/4 Cup dry), cooked and chilled*
1/2 Cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, cubed
1 pear (optional), cubed
1/4 Cup green or red onions, chopped fine

Lemon Vinaigrette:
1/3 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

1. Combine all vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake the dressing until the honey is completely dissolved.

2. Kale can be a pretty bitter leafy green if it isn’t prepared right. I recommend preparing the kale and putting it in a large mixing bowl. Before adding any other salad ingredients, pour the lemon vinaigrette over the kale. Start by using just half the dressing. With your (clean) hands, massage the dressing into the kale. This tenderizes the kale and helps it absorb the dressing, taking away the bitter taste. I do this about 20 minutes before serving the salad.

3. Add all remaining salad ingredients and serve immediately. This salad stays fresh for 24 hours in an airtight container, so you can make it in the morning and eat it for lunch, or make it for dinner and eat leftovers the next day.

Makes 12 1-Cup servings.

*Notes: To make this salad gluten-free, you will need to either omit the barley or substitute it with another grain like quinoa or millet. Otherwise, every other ingredient is safe for gluten-free eating.

 

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Baked GoodsBreakfastRecipes

Hearty Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

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You will be shocked at how moist and delicious these are! The bananas make these so sweet that no added sweetener is needed in this recipe. I substituted ground flaxseed for the eggs to make them oil AND cholesterol-free.

Hearty Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

 

2 Cups + 1 ripe banana, mashed

1 Cup applesauce

2 Eggs –OR- 2 Tablespoons  ground flaxseed whisked into 6 Tablespoons water

1 teaspoon Vanilla

3 Cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts

(optional) 1/2 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

 

Makes 2 dozen muffins.

 

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease the muffin tins.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the bananas, applesauce, eggs (or flax mixture), and vanilla. Mix until very smooth.

4. Add the wet ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until well-incorporated, but do not over mix. It will make your muffins flat if you mix the batter too much.

5. Fold the nuts and (if desired) chocolate chips into the batter.

6. Fill the greased muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.

Hearty Banana muffin prep

7. Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

8. Let cool in pan for about 3 minutes before removing. Serve immediately.

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Appetizers/ DipsGluten-FreeRecipes

Hearty Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

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It’s difficult to find a hummus in the store that isn’t saturated with oil, so I opt to make my own. This recipe is delicious as a sandwich spread or as a dip for veggies, crackers, and pita chips.

“Hearty” Red Pepper Hummus

15 oz. can Garbanzo beans or 2 Cups cooked Garbanzos

1 Red bell pepper, roasted and peeled

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (1 Tablespoon dried)

Garlic Salt to taste

Puree all ingredients until well blended. Serve immediately, or transfer hummus to air-tight container and chill for up to one week.

 

The first step towards delicious hummus is roasting the red pepper. Line a pan with tin foil so you don’t have to get the steel brush out to clean it afterwards. Cut the bell pepper in half, lengthwise, and remove all the seeds. Place the bell pepper halves on the lined sheet, open side down. Roast the pepper at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until it starts to blacken and blister.

Red Pepper roasted

While the pepper is roasting, combine the, garbanzo beans, parsley, lemon juice and garlic salt in a mixing bowl. I have lots of dried garbanzo beans (A.K.A. chickpeas) in my food storage, and I always have some cooked up, sitting in a Tupperware in the fridge. Using canned garbanzo beans is just fine as well. It’s just always less expensive to cook your own.

Once the red pepper is roasted , peel the blackened skin off the pepper and cut the pepper in slices.

Red pepper roasted, peeled

Add the pepper to the bean mixture.

Red Pepper Hummus 1

Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture into a thick hummus.  You could also throw all of this into a blender and make it that way.

Red Pepper Hummus 2

You can eat this immediately. However, I suggest you transfer the hummus to an air-tight container and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving. This allows the flavors to blend.

hummus and veggie snack

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Gluten-FreeRecipesSalads

Grilled Balsamic Vegetable Salad

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This is the heartiest of all hearty salads, and a hit at barbecues and potluck dinners! It is a modification of “California Pizza Kitchen’s” Roasted Vegetable Salad.

 

CPK Grilled Vegetables

 

Grilled Balsamic Vegetable Salad

1-2 Cups asparagus or green beans (whatever is in season)

1 Red bell pepper, chopped

2 small zucchini squash, chopped

1 Cup frozen corn

1 (15 oz.) can artichokes in brine

1/4 cup green onions, chopped fine

1 avocado, chopped

small handful sundried tomatoes

Romaine lettuce, chopped

 

Vegetable Marinade:

1/4 Cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon soy sauce (I use BRAGG Liquid Aminos for my Gluten-Free friends)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

dash of cayenne pepper

 

Balsamic Dijon Dressing:

1/2 Cup olive oil

1/3 Cup Balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Chop all the veggies except avocadoes. Combine the green beans, bell pepper, zucchini, corn, and artichokes into a large bowl.  Prepare the vegetable marinade in a jar with a lid. Give it a few shakes and pour it over the veggies. Let it marinade while you prepare the Balsamic Dressing.

2. Grill the veggies until the green beans are crisp-tender. Let them cool for 5 minutes and serve over a bed of romaine lettuce, topped with green onions, avocado chunks, sundried tomatoes, and 1/8 to 1/4 Cup of dressing. (Don’t use ALL the dressing you made. It will be too greasy. Save some for another salad some other time.)

Makes 10 to 12 side servings.

There’s a lot of chopping that goes into this salad, so check out my “Chopping Tips” to speed up the process. You will be glad you did. If the dinner-hour is as crazy for you as it is at my house, do your chopping and marinate the veggies earlier in the day. They taste better the longer they marinate anyways.Dinner pre-prep

The veggies have the best flavor when they are grilled on an electric griddle or inside a cast-iron skillet made for an outdoor grill. I have used a big skillet on my stovetop, and the flavor is still good, but not great.

CPK Grilled Vegetables

For potlucks, I mix everything together with dressing so it is easier to serve a large group. At home, however, we always have leftovers, so I serve the veggies on a bed of lettuce. This allows us to eat it the next day without soggy lettuce. I paired the salad with garlic cheese bread to make it a complete meal. Enjoy!

CPK Grilled Vegetable salad

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Cooking Tips & TricksRecipes

Chopping Vegetables Faster (My BEST Kitchen Hack)

heartysmarty

Sometimes, eating plant-based food means spending LOTS of time chopping. Most of my recipes start with “chop, chop, chop…” Meal prep gets too long when there’s so much chopping involved. Who has time for all that?

Two years ago, my sister-in-law brought this beauty up to a family reunion at the cabin. I watched her chop onions, tomatoes, and broccoli so fast that I got a bit jealous. So did all the other family members, and soon every one was using her chopper. As soon as I returned home, I ran to Bed Bath and Beyond and picked up a “Vidalia Chop Wizard.”

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This is my favorite kitchen tool. I use it EVERY day.  My cute husband even likes to chop with it! Now I can make salsa, eggs, stir-fry, salads, and more in much less time. This busy Momma’s life is so much easier with my Chop Wizard! We have gifted dozens of these as wedding, bridal shower, and house-warming gifts and they are always received so well.

P.S. No one is paying me to say this. I just think you all need to know my not-so-best-kept-secret in the kitchen.

Happy Chopping!

Featured Product

(May contain affiliate links.)

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BreakfastGluten-FreeRecipesSmoothies

Hearty Berry Smoothie

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Almost no breakfast is ever complete without a smoothie in the Andersen household. This recipe is the most-often requested smoothie.

Hearty Berry Smoothie

3/4 Cup water
1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 banana
1 handful spinach
3/4 cup strawberries, fresh
1 cup frozen blueberries

Combine all ingredients in blender in order listed and mix until smooth. Enjoy!

Serves 2.

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Gluten-FreeRecipesTreats

Smoothie Pops

heartysmarty

 

Wondering what to do with your left-over smoothie? Freeze it into a smoothie pop! This is a refreshing, healthy treat for kids and adults alike.

Tropical Mango Pops:

3/4 Cup water

1 Cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

1 Cup fresh or 3/4 Cup canned pineapple

1 Banana

1 Cup frozen mango chunks

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour fruit smoothie into popsicle molds and freeze for 4-8 hours.

 

IMG_20160603_083454306

Blueberry Mango  Pops:

3/4 Cup water

1 Cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

1 Cup frozen blueberries

1 Banana

1 Cup frozen mango chunks

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour fruit smoothie into popsicle molds and freeze for 4-8 hours.

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Food is MedicineNutrition EducationRecipesSauces and Dressings

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

heartysmarty

I always used to cook with canned Cream of Chicken Soup. I never thought to question whether it was good for me. Finally, I looked at the label of ingredients and decided I could do better. I substitute this mix in every recipe I make; soups, gravies, casseroles, sauces, and more. It’s simple, and it takes just a few minutes to whip up.

Canned vs. Homemade

First, let me convince you that this version really is healthier than the can, because, honestly, none of us needs an extra step in our cooking unless it is absolutely necessary. So, here is what the ingredient label looks like for canned Cream of Chicken Soup:

photo credit: https://adventuresofaglutenfreemom.wordpress.com

There are 29 ingredients in the canned version of this soup. It contains Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and Partially Hydrogenated oils—both of which are controversial ingredients in the food industry. Science is still inconclusive as to what potentially harmful health effects these items may have on our bodies.

My Hearty Cream of Chicken soup has just 16 ingredients, (including the 12 ingredients which make up the “Better than Bouillon” base). My homemade soup contains neither MSG nor hydrogenated oils.

Now, let’s look at the nutrition label:

cream of chicken soup can label

photo credit: https://www.soap.com/p/campbells-cream-of-chicken-soup-10-5-oz-210725

The canned version has 8 grams of fat and 120 calories per 1/2 cup serving.

If you choose to use skim milk in my recipe, there are about 6 grams of fat and 99 calories per 1/2 cup serving.

But, honestly, I don’t care much about fat and calories. In my nutrition consulting, my concern is the kinds of food being consumed and not so much the calories. Our bodies will have a better chance at telling us when we have had enough, if we are eating mostly whole foods.

Recipe

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

1/4 cup chopped onion (green, yellow, or red are all fine)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoon “Better than Bouillon” chicken base

Directions:

1. Sauté onions in butter in a medium saucepan until onions are soft and translucent.

2. Mix in the flour to form a paste.

3. Pour in half of the milk and whisk continually until well-combined with a wire whisk.

4. Add the rest of the milk and the bouillon, and continue whisking until mixture thickens and begins to bubble.

Equivalent to 1 Can of Soup.

 

Photo Tutorial

Sauteed onions

Mince onions into small pieces. Sauté the onions in 2 Tablespoons of butter, stirring occasionally.

flour butter paste

Once the onions are tender and slightly translucent, add the flour. (I always have a steady supply of fresh ground wheat in my fridge, so that is what I use for flour. In fact, I really only ever use all-purpose (white) flour when I am baking dessert items. Whole wheat works fine for everything else I make.) Mix the flour and butter until it forms a paste. This flour+butter “paste” is called a roux (pronounced, “roo”).

IMG_20160719_182407397_HDR

Add only half of the milk to the roux, just to make sure it gets fully dissolved and there are no clumps. Once the mixture is smooth, add the remaining milk. Stir continuously! If you get sidetracked and walk away from this mixture, it will scorch and you will have to start all over.

homemade cream of chicken soup

Sprinkle some salt and pepper into the soup to taste. You will know the soup is finished when the mixture is thick and begins to bubble. Remove the pan from the heat, and it is done! You just made your very own cream of chicken soup from scratch! Don’t you feel so liberated?!

Featured Product

(May contain affiliate links.)

 Better Than Bouillon on Amazon

 

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RecipesVeggie-Lover Dinners

Hearty Mashed Potatoes with Veggie Gravy

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Sometimes, you just need to clean out the veggies in the fridge for dinner, and this dish does just that. This is a healthy twist to potatoes and gravy which can be served as a main dish.

 

Mashed potatoes:

8-10 medium Russet potatoes

2 Tablespoons butter

1 cup Greek Yogurt

salt and pepper to taste

 

Veggie Gravy:

Recipe “Hearty Cream of Chicken Soup”, doubled

2-3 small zucchini squash

1 red bell pepper

1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken

salt and pepper to taste

 

Wash and dice zucchini squash and bell pepper into small pieces. Set aside. Wash, chop and boil potatoes, leaving the skin on. (The skin adds more fiber!) Boil for approximately 15 minutes or until potatoes are very soft.

While potatoes are boiling, prepare the chicken soup recipe, doubled.  Once the soup is thickened, turn heat to simmer and add the squash and red peppers. Continue occasionally stirring until the veggies are soft.   Add shredded chicken.

Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add butter and Greek yogurt and mash the potatoes. I like to use an electric mixer.

Serve gravy atop the potatoes and enjoy!

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